EarthTime  March 2016
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Sacred Ground Edition

In this issue: 
  • Message from Steve: Sacred Ground
  • The Common Ground Initiative
  • Church of the Woods Newsletter 
  • Holy Week & Easter Services
  • Exploring Outdoors Ways of Being
  • "Growing a Rule of Life" - a Conversation for Lent
Sacred Ground

Dear Friends,

It was almost eight years ago, on the morning of June 22, 2008 that I woke up wondering, 

“What is sacred in our world? What does 'sacred' mean? How do we even have public conversations about sacredness?” 

I carried these questions with me when I started attending church a couple of months later, when I went to divinity school, when I was ordained, and when I formed Church of the Woods. They remain central to Kairos Earth, now. 

I believe all life is sacred, and that we are meant to wrestle with the paradox that we must take life in order to live. The way through the paradox is to recognize that we have to treat the taking of life — the feeding upon life, for there is no other way to live — as itself a sacred act. 

The alternative to this awareness of omnipresent sacredness is to treat the taking of life as a bloodless transaction, one with no moral consequence. Or to be sidetracked by questions about whether one form of life feels more than another the pain of being killed and is, therefore, more suited to be killed. 

This month, we are launching a new program — the Common Ground Initiative —dedicated to exploring these questions and their relevance for conservation. What does it mean to destroy, or to protect, a natural landscape if the life it holds is sacred? What happens to the business of conservation when we lose the ability to speak of land and its living inhabitants as sacred? 

When God told Noah to pack up All Creation — two of everything — he meant it! Can we speak about the diversity of all life as sacred?

How do we become more aware of the ways in which we take life? How do we wrestle with the paradox of taking life in order to live? Is there any way out of our ecological dilemmas without recovering an understanding of sacredness? 

These questions will become a central focus of the EarthTime newsletter over the coming months, and we hope you will participate. How do you experience the sacred? Is the Earth and Nature an expression of that? Can you share an experience? Please join the conversation! 

And since it is the season, if you are near enough, please join us for all or part of our observance of Holy Week and Easter at Church of the Woods — see below for details.

I look forward to being in touch, and thank you, 


Donate to Kairos Earth


The Common Ground Initiative

We're excited to officially announce the Common Ground Initiative! We welcome your questions, insights, comments, and ideas. 

At Kairos Earth, we're devoted to renewing a widespread understanding of the natural world as a bearer of the sacred and restoring this awareness as a foundation of both religious practice and practical action to conserve the Earth.

We are pioneering a new approach to conservation by connecting and organizing people at the intersection of faith and conservation based on our belief that the sacred Earth we hold in common needs a voice in common.

To develop and liberate a common voice for the Earth as a place of sacred beauty, joy, and reverence, we are launching the Common Ground Initiative to bring together people who experience the Earth as sacred. Rooted in a shared love for the land, we embrace voices from many faiths, even as we may express that love differently. 

We seek to restore a religious sensibility to the conservation movement; to awaken the slumbering potential of faith communities as voices for the Earth; to take a long view even as our fears and anxieties urge us toward short-term crisis thinking; and to speak from our hearts about the land, our home, our love.

We believe that existing environmental efforts, strategies and campaigns are not enough to stem the losses of climate change, extinctions, deforestation, and loss of the places we love. We believe that the constituencies and voices for saving the Earth must be expanded and enhanced -- that conservation-as-usual is nowhere near enough. Too much is at stake, too much is being lost.

There is a natural alliance waiting to be revealed among voices of faith and voices of conservation. By opening the eyes of people of faith to the need to conserve the Earth and opening the eyes of conservationists to the need to speak from a place of love and a sense of the sacred, we seek to open hearts and bring together people who share a love for the land.

Many people are doing this heart-work, but they are often isolated from one another and lack a common identity, common language, and common voice. As the Land Trust Alliance has brought together many local voices to form an increasingly strong, nation-wide movement for conservation, so we seek to mobilize a broad-based voice for the Earth in which action moves out of love rather than fear, that re-roots religious communities in our shared love of the Earth, and that reclaims the language of sacred Earth.

A new way is opening. We hope you will be a part of it. For more information, contact project coordinator Chelsea Scudder at
Church of the Woods has its own Newsletter!

Subscribe to stay up-to-date on goings-on at Church of the Woods, receive monthly reflections, and more!

Sent out around the 10th of every month.


Holy Week & Easter Services
at Church of the Woods*

*Please note: beginning with Daylight Savings Time on March 13th, Church of the Woods Services will be held from 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Maundy Thursday:
Join us for supper and services

(Feel free to bring a dish to share! Please email Chelsea at if you plan to attend.)

Good Friday: 
5:00-5:45 pm: Litany of the Extinct
5:45-6:15 pm: Silence
6:15-6:30 pm: The Crucifixion 
6:30-7:00 pm: Silence
7:00-7:30 pm: Tenebrae

Holy Saturday Vigil:
Join us for a vigil & bonfire
7:00 - 9:00 pm

Easter Sunday:
3:00 - 4:30pm
Are you interested in talking with other people who share your love of being outdoors but not necessarily in being part of a church or having a religious affiliation? We're looking for a small number of people interested in conversation about finding deep meaning in the natural world. Exploring Outdoors Ways of Being is an initiative of Kairos Earth and Church of the Woods to begin this conversation in community.

Join the conversation! Email Chelsea Scudder at

Lenten Invitation: ‘Growing a Rule of Life’


By Johanna Young, diaconal intern


This coming Lenten season the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) are inviting us to reflect on growth, and more specifically on “Growing a Rule of Life,” in a six part series they have designed for individual or group Lenten reflections. The focus on the SSJE Lenten series will be on “God as the Chief Gardener of our soul,” and will “help us cultivate our relationships with God, self, Others, and Creation.” (Cowley, Spring 2016)

I invite Church of the Woods friends to join me, as I follow this series as a Lenten discipline. You can subscribe to the video series at You might want to share your thoughts using #growrule on your favorite media site, keep a journal of your reflections and/or share your reflection with me at and other Church of the Woods friends who sign up.

The workbook is available in PDF at:

Stay tuned for the Spring issue of EarthTime. In the meantime, keep up with us by liking us Facebook, and following us on Twitter and Instagram. 

We would love to hear your comments, suggestions, requests, and questions. Send us an email to or

We hope to see and hear from you soon! 
Copyright © 2016 Kairos Earth, All rights reserved.

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